While finalising our preparations for the drive into Mozambique the next morning, our event in Chimoio the next evening and journey on to Swaziland, various team members received warnings and expressions of concern from different individuals regarding our planned route through Mozambique and on to Swaziland because of recent attacks on the main road we would be travelling. As these reports amassed at the makeshift headquarters – a cafe with internet – we began to research and found that indeed, a 100km stretch along the EN1, the main road between Chimoio and Vilanculos has been struck in the past few weeks by regular gun attacks. Cars travelling that road have to travel in convoy with military escort, the convoys have been one of the main targets of the attacks, and only one convoy travels per day.
Faced with this limited but clearly worrying information, we quickly spoke to our partners and explored potential alternative routes that would enable us to make as many of our events as possible without compromising our security or ability to reach our events. Africa Goal is entirely committed to HIV prevention in Mozambique and Swaziland, and was loathe to let down partners, but after having spoken to all concerned, and weighed up all the factors and risks, we made the difficult decision to cancel our onward journey through Mozambique.
With very limited time, Africa Goal capitalised on its strong partnerships in Zimbabwe to arrange events for all the remaining World Cup matches.